Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hey Kid Quit Running. What Do You Think This Is, Recess?

Ah, how fondly we remember those days of chasing Barbara Binder around at recess so we could "tag" her firmly on the buttocks. Hey, there's no rule that says you have to tag someone in any particular place. Of, course we remember a little less fondly being chased around the neighborhood by her big brother Duane who insisted on tagging us on the head with his fist. Consider it our introduction to cost benefit analysis.

Anyway, what inspires these flashbacks to our somewhat checkered career as Casanovas, followed closely by our rather more successful, if less enjoyable career as punching bags is this:

An elementary school has banned tag on its playground after some children's lawyers complained their clients were harassed or chased against their will. "Clearly my client is being singled out for aggressive pursuit," said an attorney for one child. "Calling Jimmy Johnson 'four eyes' is not an invitation to him to engage in unsolicited high speed approaches towards my client."

"Running games are still allowed as long as students don't chase each other," said Cindy Fesgen, assistant principal. When asked what kind of running games students could play if they couldn't chase, she replied that, "Dogs chase cars and they seem to enjoy it. Maybe the kids could try that."

At a PTO meeting to announce the policy, one parent asked if chasing would be allowed between consenting children. Fesgen explained that in those cases children would be moved to the "chasers only" section of the playground and asked not to interact with the non-chasers. "Chasing is a lifestyle choice," Fesgen explained. "And while we don't wish to single out children who may show certain, predilections, it would be intemperate of us to allow them to mix with the general population in these situations."

Fesgen said two parents complained to her about the ban but most parents and children didn't object. "It may seems like we're overreacting," Fesgen told parents, "But one parent chased me to my car after school one day. It was terrifying, until I found out he was just trying to return the wallet I had dropped."

In 2005, two elementary schools a nearby district did away with tag and similar games in favor of alternatives with less physical contact. School officials said the move encouraged more students to play games and helped reduce playground squabbles. "Of course it also helped that we put Ritalin in the water supply," said a spokesperson for the district.

In a related story, the school student council adopted a policy of regularly beating up the two students whose parents complained.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Children routinely have lawyers now?

What's up with that?